Compound in old cheese may help prevent liver cancer

In a new study, researchers found spermidine, a compound in foods like aged cheese, may prevent liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.

The compound is also can be found in mushrooms, soy products, legumes, corn, and whole grains. It may also prolong lifespan.

The research was conducted by a team from Texas A&M University.

Previous research has shown spermidine plays a role in reducing cancer and premature aging. It may improve cardiovascular health.

In the study, the team gave animals an oral supplement of spermidine.

They found that the animals lived longer and were less likely to have liver fibrosis and cancerous liver tumors.

The compound also led to a dramatic increase in lifespan of animal models, as much as 25%.

The team says in human terms, that would mean that instead of living to about 81 years old, the average American could live to be over 100.

The trouble is that people would need to begin ingesting spermidine from the time they begin eating solid food to get this kind of big improvement in their lifespans.

The team says only three interventions have been shown to truly prolong the lifespans, including severely cutting the number of calories consumed, restricting the amount of methionine (a type of amino acid found in meat and other proteins) in the diet, and using the drug rapamycin.

But eating less and not eating meat will not be welcomed by the general population, while rapamycin has shown to suppress the human immune system.

The team believes spermidine may be a better approach to help people live longer.

Long-term spermidine ingestion might be possible for humans if it can be eventually made into a supplement and shown to be safe.

The lead author of the study is Leyuan Liu, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology’s Center for Translational Cancer Research.

The study is published in the journal Cancer Research.

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